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Position Reporting with APRS

posted Aug 11, 2013, 8:18 PM by Stones River
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A few years ago, someone handed me a small Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver and said that this little device would tell me where I was located anyone Earth. I could not believe my eyes or ears, and was not prepared to be sucked into this canard. How could this device, barely the size of a cellular phone, tell me where I was located within a hundred feet? It just couldn't be; this had to be a hoax. Upon further discussion and a demonstration, I was hooked. I knew I had to have one, but wasn't sure why. It took a while to come up with an excuse, but I finally did, thanks to the pioneering work of Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, and his Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS).

Getting Started

If you have a packet station (TNC, transceiver, and computer or terminal), you have all the hardware you need to start monitoring APRS activity in your area. All that remains is to obtain an appropriate version of the APRS software. There are currently three versions, for Apple Macintosh, DOS, and Windows. By the time you read this, there might even be an X Windows version to run on Sun and Linux workstations.

Any of the Web pages listed in this article will direct you to the latest version of the software. The software is offered as shareware, which means you may freely download the software and try it. The Macintosh and Windows programs are full working versions, only the ability to save settings has been removed. If you decide to continue to use it, you should send the authors the requested registration fee. This entitles you to future updates and support. The software comes with installation instructions, but if you need help, there is the mailing list, where you will typically get an answer within hours, if not from the authors, by thousands of "Elmers" ready, willing, and able to help you.

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